Tips for dealing with stress over the Christmas period

Christmas can be one of the most stressful times of the year.  Our Head of Counselling, Teresa Johnstone wrote a poignant article in 2013 giving tips for dealing with stress and anxiety over the Christmas period.


WHO reports on alarming increase in rates of depression

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has issued a report on depression statistics stating that the number of people who experience depression is doubling every ten years and that by 2020 igt will be the most pervasive illness in the world and the second leading cause of death.  WHO also states that depression currently ranks second only to heart disease as the leading cause of disabilities associated with illness.

Psychodynamic Counselling merits discussed in Forbes Magazine

Forbes magazine produced an interesting article which discussed the merits of psychodynamic therapy.  “The beauty of ‘talk therapy’ especially forms like psychodynamic, is that it addresses not just the symptons but also the causes of one’s problems.  Antidepressants, though essential for some people, don’t exactly get to the underlying source.  If you’re not getting to the cause of the pain…you’re essentially chanied to the past.  Psychotherapy gets to the root.

Full article click here:

Attachment Theory on Netflix

Recommended by one of our counsellors is the following programme available on Netflix which includes old footage of Harlow’s monkey experiments:

The Dark Matter of Love Documentary

Adoptive parents learn that the reality of bonding with children who’ve grown up in institutions is more difficult than they ever imagined.

Professor Emeritus Dr Robert Marvin has spent a lifetime developing a scientific intervention to help children to love.

His framework draws on experiments into the attachment patterns of monkeys, birds and humans.

This is the story of a family going through his programme.

What’s in a Name Counsellor?

A blog from one of our Counsellors.

A while ago I saw a trailer for a film called The Counsellor.  Apparently the counsellor in question is a hotshot lawyer, smart, ambitious and morally flexible, working for the drug-trafficking industry.  Not much like any of us at SBC, then.  As we already know from American TV shows, “counsellor” is an honorary title used in some countries for a courtroom lawyer, meaning, like the Godfather’s “consigliere”, someone who gives advice, or counsel.  This meaning persists in other uses of the word:  a counsellor can be an officer in the diplomatic service or someone who advises on debt and other problems.  The Queen has about 600 Privy Counsellors to advise her, mostly senior politicians.  People who sit on other types of council are councillors; known for debate and opinion, as well as advice.

As one of the counsellors at SBC, I worry sometimes that if I don’t fully identify with my title, neither will the people who come to us for help.  However clearly we explain that we do not give advice, or offer judgment or opinion, these ideas linger, implicitly, in the semantics.  Our professional body echoes this confusion.  We belong to the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP) which acknowledges a large overlap between the terms “counsellor” and “psychotherapist” and, in practice, treats the titles as interchangeable.   Couldn’t we all be one, or the other?  Part of the difficulty may stem from outdated generalizations that counsellors work for shorter periods and at less depth than psychotherapists, or have less training.

Currently, the Health & Care Professions Council regulates many other health-related roles like dietician and physiotherapist but anyone can style himself as a counsellor or a psychotherapist, whether trained or not.  The hybrid term “psychotherapeutic counselling” is defined by another professional body, the UK Council for Psychotherapy, by a detailed list of competencies that closely matches the way we work at SBC (Professional Occupational Standards, downloaded from ).

If “counsellor” can be ambiguous, “psychotherapist” is liable to be confused with similar sounding professions but, whereas “counselling” derives from a Latin root meaning advice, the origins of “psychotherapy” are in Greek words for healing and the soul.  The latter concept is much closer to what we counsellors aim for.

So, with all this confusion, what should we call ourselves and does it matter?  Anything that sets up uncertainty, or skews expectations, can be a barrier to trust in the all-important relationship we aim to establish with our clients.  Things being as they are, the safest approach is to be clear about what we do, and what we don’t do.  What we do is to offer a particular form of psychotherapy, which needs to be explained.  What we don’t do is to offer counsel or make life easy for gangsters.

Last Chance to Learn How To Survive Parenting!

Our Surviving Parenting Course starts next week:

Thursdays 12-2pm, 10 Week Course

Dates: 8th May – 17th July 2014. Half term 29th May.

This course will consider the difficulties, many of which are emotional, we face as parents. Are we good enough and what can we do better? Can a greater understanding of our own history prevent us from repeating patterns that are less than helpful? This ten week course is aimed at anyone who would like to explore their experience of being a parent in a supportive and encouraging atmosphere. The course is aimed at parents of children of all ages, since we will be looking less at child development and how to manage various stages of a child’s life and more at the emotional demands of loving, caring for and guiding children.

For more info go to our parenting course page.